Court hears convicted paedophile ‘concerned for his own safety’ fled Ballymena to rural address

Peter Clyde previously pictured outside Ballymena Magistrates Court when he was made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order. Picture: North East News.

A CONVICTED paedophile “concerned for his own safety” fled to a new address deep in the County Antrim countryside without informing his Designated Risk Manager, a court heard on Thursday.

Peter David Clyde (40), with an address listed on the charge sheet as Main Street, Newtownstewart – in County Tyrone – pleaded guilty to breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order by living in the Aughafatten area between Broughshane and Carnlough in February this year ‘without prior approval’ of his risk manager.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court, sitting in Antrim town, the Designated Risk Manager (DRM) said Clyde had not sought her approval to move to Lisles Hill Road in Aughafatten.

Peter Clyde outside Ballymena Magistrates Court in 2019. Picture: North East News.

 

A defence lawyer said it was a “technical breach” as the defendant had previously notified police of his change of address and three days earlier Clyde had told the Housing Executive “who were liasing with the DRM”.

The solicitor said: “At all times he was with his 75-year-old mother”.

The solicitor told the court an address “became unavailable” to Clyde because “people in the area became aware” of his past.

The lawyer said Clyde then, in an “emergency”, contacted the Housing Executive to liaise with the Designated Risk Manager and he was “placed in the Traveller’s Rest” with his mother.

The Traveller’s Rest is a B&B beside Ballymena Bus & Rail Centre where the owner was stabbed to death in March this year. A man – Michael Lenaghan – is currently charged with murder.

Clyde’s solicitor told the court the defendant “became wary of staying there” and was “concerned for his own safety and that of his mother, which was completely borne out by events which occurred at that address, tragically.”

The solicitor said Clyde then contacted the Housing Executive on February 4 and “they provided him with” the Aughafatten address “where he stayed with his mother”.

The lawyer said Clyde notified the police of the change of address and the defendant “made the assumption that as per the previous arrangement that the Housing Executive had told the Designated Risk Manager”.

The solicitor said the defendant now accepts he should have “made sure” by contacting the DRM “directly”.

The lawyer said Clyde, who is “currently living in hostel accommodation,” had entered a guilty plea to the breach.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said the prosecution had accepted it seemed to have been a “technical breach” and that had been the case made by Clyde to police during interview.

On that basis, the judge added, that “while these matters are of a serious nature normally,” he was prepared to accept the offence was of a “technical nature” and fined Clyde £150.

In October 2019 Clyde, then with an address listed as Rocavan Meadow in Broughshane, was sentenced at Ballymena Magistrates Court after previously being convicted of ‘attempted sexual communication with a child’.

That charge related to January 18, 2018.

The specifics of that charge were that ‘being a person aged 18 years or over, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification intentionally attempted to communicate with a person under 16 years, the communication being sexual or intended to encourage the said person to make a communication that was sexual, and you did not reasonably believe that person was 16 years or over.’

In connection with the 2018 matter a prosecutor had told the court last year that police received information from a “paedophile hunter group” called ‘Predator Catchers NI’ who had used a ‘decoy’ posing as a 14-year-old boy on ‘Grindr’.

Last year’s court heard Clyde embarked on a series of private messages including one where he said he would like to “tie the boy up, put him in the boot of a car … and perform sexual acts on him”.

That court heard 100 messages were exchanged during which the decoy constantly reminded the defendant they were a ’14-year-old boy’.

The ‘hunter group’ had sent screenshots of the conversations to police who arrested Clyde.

A defence barrister told the court last year the defendant had long-standing problems with depression and back problems.

The barrister said the defendant had made no attempt to meet the decoy.

During last year’s case a judge said it was a “very serious” matter and said although a decoy was involved Clyde had believed he was communicating with a 14-year-old boy.

At the 2019 court hearing the judge put Clyde on Probation for a year with conditions including participation in whatever was recommended by officials to reduce ‘any risk’ he may have presented.

At the court last October Clyde was told he had to reside in approved accommodation and also had to inform Probation if he entered any personal relationship and he was to have no contact with children apart from unavoidable every day contact.

He had also been put on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.

At the 2019 court Clyde was also made the subject of a five year Sexual Offences Prevention Order which prohibited him from doing a number of things without the permission of his Designated Risk Manager including residing at accommodation; entering relationships involving access to children; having contact with children aged under 16; taking part in activities involving access to children and he was not to use computers, mobile phones or devices with internet access.

He was also prohibited from undertaking any activity in paid, private, voluntary or charitable capacity which afforded access to children or young persons, unless approved of his Designated Risk Manager.

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